Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Harder He Falls

By Mitchell Hadley

Here's a piece so good, you'd think we'd written it.

Before you think that's too egotistical, though, let us explain. Our regular readers know our habit of taking movies, television shows, or other stories, and spinning off our own versions - looking, in effect, for (apologies to Paul Harvey) "the rest of the story." (See this piece on Hogan's Heroes as an example of what we're talking about.)

Anyway, we've got this article from Tuesday's NRO, in which David Kahne combines two of our favorite genres - sports and politics - to come up with, as the header says, "the current travails of President Obama [as] run them through a Budd Schulberg prism." Schulberg, who died just a couple of weeks ago, wrote some of the hardest-hitting stuff of our time - What Makes Sammy Run, On the Waterfront, and one of the great movies on boxing and corruption, The Harder They Fall. (Which doubles as Humphrey Bogart's last movie.)

It is this movie that Kahne uses to study the presidency of Battlin' Barry Obama, “The Punahou Kid.” It's a fun piece, and as is often the case with fun pieces, it contains more than a gram of truth. Kahne skillfully tells the story of Obama's election, and then comes that "rest of the story" moment:

It took my agent all of two days to sell this baby to Fox, and it’s already slotted into the production pipeline right behind Mission to Pyongyang: The Bill Clinton Story. Naturally, I’m already at work on the sequel:

Fooled by his easy success, Barry chows down on burgers, vacations in Paris, takes up bowling, and even learns to fly-fish in Big Sky country. When his former opponent Hillary — old, fat, and out of shape, but part of his “Team of Rivals” — warns him to watch it, he packs her off to the Congo to look for Marlon Brando, and she has never heard from again. Meanwhile, a fast-rising challenger, Sarah “The Barracuda” Palin(Clint Eastwood, in the most daring role of his career), is making mincemeat out of various pugs, mugs, and tomato cans. Barry tries to duck her, but the cry goes up: Come out and fight like a man!

I’m kicking around a couple of titles: Trillion-Dollar Baby is one. Or maybe just keep it simple: The Harder He Falls: This Time, It’s Personal.

Read the whole thing. It's good. You'll want to remember it a few years from now...

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